If Flora Duffy hadn’t done it a few hours before, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt would have been the first triathlete ever to take the Olympic title and the world championship in the same year. He’ll happily wear the crown as the first man to ever achieve the feat, puncuating his huge achievement by taking the win in an exciting sprint to the line.
Two-time defending world champion Vincent Luis led the men out of the water with Hungary’s Mark Devay and Belgium’s Marten Van Riel on his feet. They had enough of a gap to hit T1 and jump on their bikes to set up a three-man breakaway group.
Blummenfelt was solidly in the chase group, but Olympic silver medalist Alex Yee, who was actually ahead of Blummenfelt in the world standings by 39 points, was well back and found himself in the second chase group along with Olympic bronze medalist Hayden Wilde (NZL).
The three leaders managed to open the gap to about 30 seconds at times during the ride, with Luis’ countrymen Leo Bergere and Dorian Coninx appearing to foil Blummenfelt’s efforts to organize the group. In the last lap, though, the chase group finally managed to get together and make up the 20-second deficit, setting up a huge group to race for the win on the 10 km run.
The lead group steadily whittled down and by the start of the fourth lap the group was down to Adrien Briffod (SUI), Van Riel, Blummenfelt, Bergere, Takumi Hojo (JAP), Antonino Serrat Seoene (ESP), Seth Rider (USA) and Tayler Reid (NZL). Luis had fallen off the pace by about eight seconds, while Yee was putting together the day’s fastest run, having closed the gap which was as much as 90 seconds down to 39 as he started the last lap.
As he did in the Olympics, Blummenfelt started to apply pressure on the group in the last lap, setting up a thrilling sprint that saw him fly down the chute and get to the line (1:44:14) a second ahead of Van Riel (1:44:14) and two seconds up on Bergere (1:44:15). Rider would have the race of his life to take fourth (1:44:23) with Briffod rounding out the podium (1:44:24).
You can find full results here.